heres my series on the German Schnellboote of the Reichs- & Kriegsmarine.
These took way longer to complete than expected...
S 1 was commissioned in August 1930 with the cover designation "UZ(S) 16" - Unterseebootzerstörer Schnellboot 16 (lit. "Submarine-destroyer fast boat") and was extensively used for trials. In 1931 the vessels designation was changed to "W 1" - Wachboot 1("Guardboat"). These cover designations were used to hide its true nature from the watchful eyes of the allies: The Versailles treaty put restrictions on fast attack craft, but not on small submarine hunters and guard boats.
Therefore she officially carried no torpedo-armament, but was secretly able to mount two removable 50cm torpedo-tubes.
These were only officially fitted in 1933, when the boats designation was finally changed into S 1.
By 1934, the 50cm torpedo-tubes were replaced by newer ones of 53cm calibre.
Equipped with three Daimler-Benz BFZ V12 petrol engines, it could maintain a maximum sustained speed of 34 kts.
The boat was sold to Spain in 1936 and was at first renamed into "Badajoz" and later into LT 13 (or LT 15?).
Boats built: S 1
The four following boats were commissioned in early 1932. They were very similar to their predeccesor, but grew in size.
Their three petrol Daimler-Benz BFZ V12 engines each delivered 800 HP (1100 HP when later modified with superchargers).
Only in this class, an extra 100 PS Maybach S.5-Motor was installed, that could be coupled to the middle shaft via chain drive. It was to be used for silent running at a speed of 6 kts and had the double use as a range extender. Top speed was 32 kts.
The retrofitting of an experimental hard chine to S 2 resulted in better seakeeping at higher speeds. A feature that would become the standard for the following classes.
S 2 to S 5 were sold to Spain in 1936.
Boats built: S 2 - S 5
S 6 was an enlarged version of the previous class. It was the first S-Boot built with a Diesel engine.
The idea of detachable Torpedo tubes was finally dropped on this type.
It was also sold to Spain in 1937.
Boats built: S 6
With the S 7-class, commissioned between 1934 and 1935, focus was set on greater range. In a possible new war, they would have to be able to operate against ports in northern France.
To achieve this, Diesel engines were chosen for this class. These had the added benefit of reducing the fire hazard aboard the boats.
S 7 to S 9 were equipped with troublesome MAN L7 Zu 7 cylinder Diesels. S 10 to S 13 had the more reliable Daimler-Benz MB 502 16 cylinder type.
Maximum speed for the latter was 36,5 kts.
During the war, they took part in the invasion of Norway. With more modern boats commissioned, many were relegated to second line duties. They mainly served as submarine hunters or as patrol boats.
Apparently, the submarine hunters of schnelle U-Jagd-Gruppe received some noise-reducing modifcations to aid them with their new task.
Boats built: S 7 - S 13
The larger S 14-class was fitted with three MAN 11 cylinder Diesel engines L 11. They reached a maximum sustained speed of 37 kts and a maximum speed of 39,8 kts.
Unfortunately, the MAN engines also turned out to be unreliable.
Like the S 7s, they were relegated to similar second line duties during the course of the war.
Boats built: S 14 - S 17
Commissioned from 1938 to 1939, these boats were almost identical to the previous class, but got three Daimler-Benz MB 501 20 cylinder Diesel engines with 2050 HP each.
They were able to reach a top speed of 39,5 kts.
This class was the first, that received a wedge to lower the stern to improve their handling at higher speeds. A feature, that was incorporated into the following classes.
It is notable, that S 18 was refitted into a fast target tug for FLAK-artillery training and renamed into "Hermes". She was sunk after a bomb hit on 05.05.1945 in the Baltic.
Boats built: S 18 - S 25
The S 26-class was the first class to be built with a high forecastle that enclosed the torpedo-tubes. This measure increased reserve buoyancy and protected the torpedo tubes against weather influences.
Only four boats were built. All were commissioned in 1940. Maximum speed was 39,5 kts.
S 26 to S 28 saw action in the Black Sea.
Though very similar in appearance to the later S 38-class, they can be distinguished by a different and quite noitcable ventilator arrangement.
Boats built: S 26 - S 29
The S 30s were a smaller class, that was beeing constructed by Lürssen for the Chinese Navy. At the outbreak of war, the boats were requisitioned, modified to German standards and commissioned into the Kriegsmarine.
They were equipped with Daimler Benz MB 502 engines for a top speed of 36 kts.
Most of them saw action in the Mediterranean.
Boats built: S 30 - S 37, S 54 - S 61
S 38-class & S 38b-class
The S 38-class was a continuation of the S 26-series. The first unit being commissioned in 1940, this class became the standard type of S-Boot during the war.
They used the same DB 501 engines as the earlier s 26-class. Later boats recieved turbochargers to compensate for the ever increasing weight of additional armor, guns and equipment.
Early boats up to and including S 46 did not originally have a 20mm gun in the forecastle tub, but most were refitted with it. In an attempt to compete with the ever increasing number of heavily armed enemy MGBs, some boats were upgunned with 40mm Bofors guns.
Due to the combat experience in the English Channel, some of the boats of this type were (re-)fitted with an armored "Kalotte" ("skull cap") bridge and a twin-MG-mount amidships. The first boats to receive armored bridges were S 67 and S 68.
The armored bridge was to become the standard by 1943, though this policy was inconsistent and many boats were still built without it. Boats with the "Kalotte" are commonly reffered to as the S 38b-type.
Of the boats shown in my drawings, S97 and S 112 might be of special interest:
S 97 was one of the boats of 6.SFL, that took part in the moderately successful "Dackel"-attacks against the Normandy invasion-fleet. The TIIId "Dackel" had a range of 57km. One half of its extreme range was travelled in a straight line, the other half in a search pattern. After completing its run, it turned into a mine.
With a length of around 10 metres, it stuck out of the S-Boots torpedo-tubes when in firing position.
S 112 served as a testbed for the navalized version of the Luftwaffe "Lichtenstein" Radar. My drawing shows her using the FuMO 71 version on a fixed mast. In 1943, she was fitted with the newer FuMO 72 on a rotatable mast. The mast enlarged her superstructure and radar signature, which turned her into an easier to detect target. Earning her the nickname "Seezielgranatkasten" (freely traslated as "naval grenade trap").
In February 1945, she took part in the first aborted attempt to raid Granville. After the war, she was handed over to France.
Boats built (S 38 & S 38b): S 38 - S 53, S 62 - S 66, S 67 - S 99, S 101- S 131, S 137 - S 138
With the first unit commissioned in mid 1943, the S 100-type was planned with an armored bridge from the beginning. Early boats were constructed concurrently with the older S 38 class.
Beginning with S 139 almost all further boats constructed until the end of the war were of the S 100-type.
Three MB 511 supercharged Diesels with 2500hp each, made it possible for these boats to reach a top speed of around 42 kts.
S 301 to S 305 were planned to be fitted with more powerful turbocharged MB 518 Diesels, but this project failed because of a lack of engine availability.
S 170 was one of the few boats that were issued and trialed with the 518 engine, though. With a speed of 43,5 kts., it set a record for the fastest MTB of the time in 1944.
It was planned to equip later boats with 30mm guns and a set of aft firing torpedo-tubes. This too did not materialize because of shortages. Only S 226 served as a testbed for the aft launchers.
See my never-built S-Boot thread for drawings of these planned modifications: http://www.shipbucket.com/forums/viewto ... 13&t=10314
Boats built: S 100, S 136, S 139 - S 150, S 167 - S 228, S 301 - S 307, S 701- S 709
Boats of the S 151-class were built from incomplete captured Dutch MTB hulls (TM.54 to TM.61).
The first being commissioned in December 1941, all eight boats were completed to German requirements by 1942.
Fitted with three MB 500 Diesels, they could reach 35 kts.
Because of their small size, they were deployed to the Mediterranian via the European canal system.
Boats built: S 151 - S 158
The "Leicht-Schnellboote" (light speedboats), were a class of midget S-Boote, that were meant to be deployed from larger surface ships and even from submarines.
Accordingly, LS 2 to LS 4 were stationed aboard the auxiliary cruisers "Komet", "Kormoran" and "Michel". However, the plans to launch them from submarines were never carried out.
Depending on availability, the boats were built with different engine and armament combinations. Some received a set of rear firing 45cm torpedo-tubes and a 20mm MG 151 in a rotating plexiglass dome. Others were used as small mine layers without torpedo-armamant. Top speed varied between 31 kts on LS 1 and up to 42,5 kts on LS 4.
The unfinshed boats LS 13 to LS 18 were completed after the war for the French.
Boats built: LS 1 - LS 12 (post-war LS 13 - LS 18)
KM / KS-class
"KS" stands for "Küstenschnellboot" (coastal speedboat) - "KM" for "Küstenminenleger" (coastal minelayer).
These small boats were developed by Lürssen as the offensive coastal minelayers KM 1 to KM 36. Since the Navy was not convinced of their effectiveness, many boats were converted into the "KS"-type during the course of the war.
During this conversion, the mine laying equipment was removed and two 45cm torpedo tubes were installed instead.
Dependig on the builder, reliability and build quality varied heavily between the single boats. Apparently, only the better ones were convertred into KS.
They were able to reach up to 32 kts.
Boats built: KM 1 - KM 36 (after conversion: KS 1, 2, 7, 9 - 18, 20, 21, 23 - 26, 31, 32)
Compilation of the main S-Boot classes of the Reichs- and Kriegsmarine
As far is I know, the S-Boote did not have official class-designations. Class-names such as "S 38b -class" are what they are commonly reffered to in post-war literature. That is why I have also chosen to use these designations. Feel free to correct me on this one.
Schnellboot in Action by T. Garth Connely and David L. Krakow - squadron/signal publications
S-Boote German E-Boats in Action by Jean-Philippe Dallies-Labourdette - Histoire & Collections
New Vanguard 59: German E-Boats 1939-1945 by Gordon Williamson - Osprey Publishing
ShipCraft 6: German S-Boats by Steve Wiper - Chatham Publishing
Die deutschen Schnellboote im Einsatz by Hans Frank - Verlag E. S. Mittler & Sohn GmbH
Die deutschen Kriegsschiffe 1815-1945 Band 2 by Erich Gröner - Bernard & Graefe Verlag
https://www.historisches-marinearchiv.d ... p#lifeline
https://www.forum-marinearchiv.de/smf/i ... 105.0.html